Remembering the Three R’s for the Perfect Recovery
The best exercise and fitness plan in the world isn’t complete without proper nutrition. Obtaining the correct nutrients, at the correct time and in the correct fashion, are crucial for maximising performance and gains. Nutritional recovery is now a science, incorporating the right mixture of electrolytes, fluids, protein and carbohydrates, allowing the body to repair itself, and rebuild muscle tissue.
Of course, each person is different, and any nutritional program needs to be fully customised based upon a person’s age, gender, current physical condition, body type and frame, and more. Still, by following the Three R’s, anyone can begin producing superior results, obtaining the perfect recovery for their workouts and allowing them to reach their goals.
The Three R’s is a wonderful concept which can be utilised to help any person stay on track with nutrition and recovery. Each of the Three R’s is an essential component of the process, playing a unique role in combination with the others: Refuel, Rebuild, and Rehydrate.
To refuel, your body needs carbohydrates. These are rapidly broken down for immediate energy, or fuel, which is needed to perform and to replenish lost glycogen stores. How much glycogen is burned depends upon the intensity and length of training.
To refuel yourself fully, you should intake between .8 and 1.2 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight, immediately following a training session. For lighter workouts, stay closer to the former, and for more intense sessions, the latter.
Next, it’s time to rebuild, and this is all about protein. Protein contains the building blocks that muscle tissues need in order to rebuild themselves, allowing you to grow stronger and increase your muscle mass. As discussed, carbohydrates replenish your body’s fuel in the form of glycogen, whereas protein helps you rebuild with protein and the amino acids it contains.
Consume .3 to .4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight post-workout, whether in the form of whole foods, or protein shakes and supplements. Without protein to rebuild post-workout, muscle fibres are unable to properly repair themselves, and you do not see the full benefit of the hard work you put in at the gym.
The third R is rehydration, and here, it’s time to restore fluids and electrolytes which are lost in sweat. It’s important to stay hydrated all day long, but an easy way to monitor yourself is a quick weigh-in before and after a training session. If you’re losing more than 2% of body weight as fluids, performance will drastically decrease.
Water is the best choice for everyday hydration, whereas sport beverages with added electrolytes and minerals can be key for recovery. Alternatively, electrolytes can be found naturally elsewhere, with potassium and sodium both being essential.
Over the course of your daily life, it may be difficult to always consider the Three R’s and to maintain a perfect nutritional plan. The key therefore is to focus on the post-workout, and your needs for recovery. By considering your body and its needs for Refuelling, Rebuilding and Rehydration, you’ll maximise your performance, increase the results you see, and be well prepared to tackle the next challenge.